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CURRENT ISSUE

DEEPWATER HORIZON SPILL
How long will the political fall out from the spill delay plans to expand U.S. offshore drilling

Hardly at all
For 1-2 years
For longer than 2 years

COFFERDAM

May 6, 2010

Cofferdam headed for spill site

Crewmen aboard the motor vessel Joe Griffin yesterday guided a 40 ft cofferdam onto the deck to transport it from Wild Well Control, Port Fourchon, La., to the Deepwater Horizon spill site. It is planned to lower the structure -- which some reports have been calling a "dome" --over one of the leak sites on the seabed and then connect it by pipe to a specialist vessel at the surface. BP says it is currently expected to be lowered to the well site seabed in around two days' time allowing the process of testing and commissioning to begin. Only once this is complete will the effectiveness of the system be demonstrated.

Meantime. BP says that it has stopped the flow of oil from one of the three existing leak points on the damaged MC252 oil well and riser. While this is not expected to affect the overall rate of flow from the well, it is expected to reduce the complexity of the situation being dealt with on the seabed.

Using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), a valve was installed on the end of a broken drill pipe, one of the three points from which oil was leaking. The ROVs first cut the end of the pipe to leave a clean end and the valve, weighing over half a ton, was placed in position on the seabed. Overnight the ROVs completed securely joining the valve to the broken drill pipe and then closed it, shutting off the flow from that pipe.

Successful Controlled Burn

In other developments yesterday, favorable weather conditions allowed responders to conduct successful controlled burn operations. NOAA says two occurred and that up to 1,000 gallons of oil were burned. Weather conditions also continued to allow both NOAA overflights and dispersant operations.

The latest trajectory forecast shows a potential for westward movement of the oil. Twice daily, NOAA oceanographers continue to release updated trajectory maps showing the predicted trajectory of the oil slick. Drifter buoys have been placed near areas of the slick to provide tracking data that will be used to "ground truth" NOAA’s predicted trajectories. The buoys transmit location information and can be used by the NOAA modeling team to better understand how currents and winds are moving the slick and accompanying buoys.

NOAA says that decreasing wind and sea state should allow the full spectrum of surface operations until the weekend.

 
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